SEATTLE -- A federal judge in Seattle brought the Trump administration’s executive order on immigration to a halt nationwide Friday, issuing a temporary restraining order in U.S. District Court until further hearings can be held.
“The Constitution prevailed today,” Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said after the ruling by U.S. District Court Judge James L. Robart, a Seattle native who is an appointee of President George W. Bush. “No one is above the law — not even the president.”
In response, Customs and Border Protection told major US airlines Friday night that it is reinstating visas.
CBP is "back to business as usual" prior to the situation that was in place before last week's executive order, an airline executive told CNN. Airlines are expected as soon as Friday night to start removing travel alerts from their websites and getting messages out to customers to alert them about the change.
But the White House reacted late Friday night, indicating it intends to quickly seek a stay of the Seattle judge's ruling.
“At the earliest possible time, the Department of Justice intends to file an emergency stay of this outrageous order and defend the executive order of the President, which we believe is lawful and appropriate,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer said in a statement. A second statement was issued minutes later that took out the word 'outrageous.'
Judge Robart, in his ruling, said the federal government was “arguing that we have to protect the U.S. from individuals from these (seven) countries, and there’s no support for that.” He said the state of Washington proved that the local economy and citizens had suffered irreparable harm and an injunction should be applied.
Ferguson had argued that the Executive Order violates the Constitution’s guarantee of Equal Protection and the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause, infringes individuals’ constitutional right to Due Process and contravenes the federal Immigration and Nationality Act.
"This decision shuts down the (president's) executive order immediately -- shuts it down -- so individuals can travel like they did before," Ferguson said.
"The decision is obviously a historic decision and an important one for the rule of law, and for the people of the state of Washington and for the people of our country," Ferguson said. "Judge Robart's decision, effective immediately, puts a halt to President Trump's unconstitutional and unlawful order."
The hearing came about after the Attorneys General of Washington and Minnesota filed a lawsuit seeking to halt President Donald Trump’s Jan. 27 executive order restricting immigration to the United States from seven Muslim-majority countries. It also placed restrictions on refugees entering the country.
A reporter asked Ferguson if the ruling coming down on Friday afternoon could cause confusion.
"I'll tell you where there's been confusion - the President's executive order," Ferguson said. "That's what's caused confusion. I'm sorry, but there's no other way to put it - it's been Keystone Cops. It really is. That's not just me speaking, that's Republican members of Congress."
"What the judge ruled today is that the president's executive order does not apply -- does not apply," Ferguson said after the hearing.
"I'm sure the president won't like this decision, but it's his obligation to honor the law and I'll make sure he does," Ferguson told reporters.
Robart is no stranger to high-profile cases - he is also the federal judge in charge of overseeing the reform of the Seattle Police Department.
The Temporary Restraining Order will remain in place until Robart considers the Attorney General’s lawsuit challenging key provisions of the President’s order as illegal and unconstitutional. If Ferguson prevails, the Executive Order would be permanently invalidated nationwide.
Massachusetts, New York and Virginia have also joined third-party lawsuits challenging the order. A judge in Boston on Friday declined to extend a one-week freeze against Trump's travel ban, but that applied only for the state of Massachusetts.
The U.S. Courts released the full video of the judge's ruling here: